Heuerville

Vintage Heuer / TAG Heuer watches, and a few others. Plus Handmade straps..

Archive for the ‘Heuer Divers’ Category

Heuer Orange Diver 980.005 Auto

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Heuer 980.005 Auto Orange Diver. Oversized 42mm case. 200m, ETA 2872. c1982

Another legend finds itself in front of my camera, the beautiful orange dialed 980.005, the automatic version of the orange 42mm divers. The ‘005’ is found in a several variations, the early models shown in the 1979 catalogue as having cathedral hands and a non-tramlined bezel (ie. No metal ring between glass & insert). The next iteration saw the iconic Mercedes hands introduced,  the last was like what we see here – with Mercedes hands and a traditional Heuer tramline bezel. They are seen in catalogues 1979-82, and the quartz version featured on the front cover of the Heuer 1981 Speciality ‘Winter Olympics’ catalogue.

One thing to note, is that the regular black dialled Heuer divers have lume that ages to pale slate green, whereas the orange divers age to a very pale warm peach-ish hue, which looks wonderful with the orange dial. It’s nice to see that level of care and attention taken by Heuer when these were produced. The date wheels also tend to go a similar colour, which I can’t quite explain, but it was the same on my quartz version..

I sold on my 980.007 quartz variation, over a year later, I regretted that decision, so when this came along I had to grab it.. but it wasn’t so straight forward… It arrived in my care as a bit of a basket case. The bezel insert was OK – a bit knocked about, the case a bit filthy, an incorrect crown, and the hour & minute hands were not original and the glass in poor condition. The dial also has had a tough time, with a few marks on it, but thankfully they are indentation marks, and not scratches, which aren’t really noticeable most of the time.

As a bit of a long time Heuer diver nut, I had a few spares kicking around, so had the crown replaced and I treated it to a mint bezel. The hands were a problem, thankfully the seconds hand was original, and in decent condition.. so I relieved a two-tone Heuer diver of it’s hour and minute hands, and had them lightly sanded and sprayed gloss black. They were then relumed to match the seconds hand. Once again, a big thank you goes to James for his superb work – cheers bud.
So, here it is, with a new crystal, a light upper case polish and finished with a Heuer oyster bracelet. I need to give the caseback a bit of a polish, it shouldn’t be brush finished, but that aside, I think it has scrubbed up well and now looks fantastic.

The cathedral hand variation in the 1979 French Catalogue on OTD

Later versions seen here in the 1981 Speciality Catalogue and in the 1982 Speciality Catalogue on OTD

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June 17, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Heuer Diver 980.021 Two Tone

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Heuer 980.021. Two-tone 42mm oversized case. C1985

I have already featured this particular watch, a long time ago, when this blog was in it’s infancy.. you can see the posting here, I was simply going to simply update the old post, but I think this tough old-timer deserves a brand new posting, as the transformation is impressive, especially as it has been such a workhorse.. it was bought new in c1985 in the US and was used as a dive watch for over 10 years and worn daily for 16 years.

I decided to sell a NOS case that I had, an all-gold Analogue-Digital diver model, but with no interest, I sacrificed it for this 980.021. The bezel was carefully removed, which wasn’t easy, as it was so tight on the case, being NOS. The risk of damaging it was high, so I had to tread carefully.

Some time back, I spent many evenings sorting the case out, making sure I didn’t dull any edges. Then it was off to my watchmaker (Thanks James) for a new glass and crown. Since then it has sat unloved in the back of a drawer with its tired looking bezel. As the ani-digi diver and the ‘021’ share the same bezel, it was a simple snap on fit, and the result is beyond what I thought.. it now looks the business. Yes, technically it should have a gold plate crown, I do have one, but I like it the way it is right now, so I’m just going to enjoy it.

And here is a before shot..

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April 16, 2012 at 11:04 am

Heuer Diver 983.015 Black Coral (Mid-Sized)

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Heuer 983.015 Black Coral Diver, 200m, Black PVD, 32mm Case (NOS) c1984

This 32mm (36mm with crown) mid-sized model from the Black Coral range is not common in any condition, but to find a NOS example is truly special. It is always a pleasure to study an example that is ‘factory fresh’, being able to handle it and see the fit and finish. Many PVD Heuers, even those that have been well cared for have a smooth/satin PVD finish, this one has a matt rough finish to it, it absorbs any light, which makes photographing it a pleasure – there are no awkward reflections. It clearly has never been worn, the bracelet is unbelievably tight,  simply opening the bracelet claps is has a satisfying stiffness. The bracelet is superb, but I reckon this would be killer on a NATO, but despite having a box full of them, I don’t have a 16mm version available!

At 32mm (ex. crown) it is small, but not the smallest in the range, that is the 28mm version. This model would have been an expensive bit of kit in the 80’s, one price list shows it as being just under 600 Deutsche Marks in 1985. It’s a proper mini-stealth watch.

Despite my usual wearers being 40mm plus, I do have a fascination for these smaller divers. They really are interesting to look at. It’s that same fascination you get from seeing a baby crocodile… almost identical to a fully grown adult but shrunk down.

The only catalogue pictures I can find are of the later version, with ‘1000’ on the dial, seen in the 1985 catalogue.

Below you can see it’s size relative to its fellow divers.. the 42mm Heuer Monnin and 40mm TAG Heuer 980.023N.

Heuer Diver 983.015 Black Coral (Mid-Sized) in the 1984/5 Catalogue

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April 9, 2012 at 12:42 am

Heuer Diver 982.006 Pewter PVD ‘Great Grey’

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Heuer Diver 982.006 Pewter PVD, Grey Dial, Oversized 42mm case. ESA 536.121. c1983

The Heuer grey dialed divers are rare, and this oversized case version is even more so. They are stunning in the flesh, with their refreshing clean design. I had the mid-size version of this watch, which I sold on a while back, and regretted it. Then, thanks to fellow collector Paul, who runs Heuerworld, I got the opportunity to get my grubby mitts on this.. the oversized 42mm cased version, and it’s a beauty. What is immediately notable are the beautifully crisp lines of the case, it’s always a pleasure to get an untouched case, where the design can be appreciated as it was when it left the factory gates. The dial is truly beautiful, with a pleasing hint of patina to the lume, which still lights up nicely.

I’d never seen one on the open market before, so I was surprised to discover that Paul had two, both for sale.. (a fellow collector grabbed the other one). The dial gives this watch an incredibly clean look, the added surface area of the bigger dial in this model adds to the crisp design. It has a very contemporary feel to it, it kinda reminds me of my MacBook Pro. Its clean lines, classic case design and tool-watch toughness, gives it immense wrist presence. I’m tempted to give it a name.. to distinguish it from other divers.. maybe ‘Sir Jonny Ive’ might be too much.. if I had to, I think I’d have to plump for ‘Great Grey’.

Heuer 982.006 in the 1983 Catalogue

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January 8, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Heuer 981.113 PVD ‘Military’ Night Diver

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Heuer 981.113 Olive/Khaki PVD ‘Military’ Night Diver, Full Lume dial

First off, I need to stress that this model wasn’t military issue, the khaki PVD models are sometimes referred to as ‘Military’ as a nickname amongst collectors.
This is the night diver version,with Heuer’s awesome phosphorescent full lume dial. The case and bracelet is khaki green-brown, with a brown insert, it is very cool, and very rare.
The PVD colour changes subtly from a more greenish color to a brownish colour, depending on the lighting.

This particular example is NOS, with little or no signs of wear. There are a few storage marks, but I’m lucky to get my hands on it. It even has the original caseback sticker in place, as well as the full length bracelet, although I have a feeling a khaki NATO strap with PVD hardware would look the business.
It dates from c1983, has the thicker case than later models and has an unsigned caseback and crown. The dial is unbelievable, unmarked and mint. The perfectly preserved full lume dials have more of a aqua-green tint in daylight, I’ve tried to replicate this in the photos, with semi-lume shots by exposing the dial to strong light prior to taking some of the shots. It has a yellow-green colour when not ‘charged’. The range of variation is subtle but wide, when exposed to full white daylight or household bulbs.

Heuer 981.113 in 1983 Catalogue

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November 28, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Heuer 982.113 Night Diver

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Heuer 982.113 Night Diver, Pewter PVD, Full lume dial. c1983

You might think that you’re seeing double, as I posted a similar watch a few weeks ago.. this one is almost the same as the 989.113L, but is an earlier version, it doesn’t have a signed crown, or ‘1000’ on the dial. It also has the trademark early plain caseback and features a thicker case. These full lumers tend to develop a wonderful patina on the lume, and this one has aged nicely, with an even splattering of patina, almost like a light desert camo effect. I find it quite endearing, and adds to the character of this full lume night diver.

Heuer 982.113 in the 1983 Catalogue

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November 27, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Heuer 989.113L Night Diver

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Heuer 989.113L Night Diver, Pewter PVD, Full lume dial. c1985

This is a very late Heuer diver, noted by the ‘L’ at the end of the model number. These also featured an elaborate signed case back, 1000 on the dial and a signed crown. It’s unbelievably rare (never seen another, anywhere), as it was so late in the Heuer range, just before the TAG takeover.
There are very similar models that appear the same, but have a different model code. The ‘989’ code was originally believed by Heuer collectors to be only seen on the newer TAG versions, until I turned this one up, and a Heuer catalogue page was later discovered with it in. There doesn’t seem to be a good reason why the code structure changed, usually the codes follow on from the older models. One reason could be that the case is slightly thinner than the earlier example, but that happened to other 1000 divers and the code stayed the same.

Heuer 989.113L in the 1985 catalogue

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October 30, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Heuer 980.032 Night Diver

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Heuer 980.032 Night Diver, Full lume dial, 42mm case, c1983

Believe it or not, this is a standard full lume dial night diver. The entire dial has developed a wonderful slate green patina. I’ve learned that this could be caused by moist air getting into the case at some pint in it’s history. The lume dials are usually a pale yellowy-green, and if a patina develops, it is more often than not a rather pleasant spotted/motted effect in yellowy-brown. So this dial is out of the ordinary, and looks intentional, like some sort of mil spec model. The surprising thing is that the dial still lumes up in the dark wonderfully.

It makes for a unique looking Heuer. I think a distressed leather NATO strap might be the perfect companion for it. It’s dial has a almost velvet matt finish to it, which is complemented by the perfect gloss black hands. The caseback is incorrect, being marked 980.007 from an orange dialed Heuer diver, but I can forgive it that, at the end of the day, it’s only a couple of stamped numbers.

You can see it here in the 1982 Heuer Divers Catalogue on OTD.

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October 23, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Heuer 844 Monnin

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Heuer 844 Monnin, Automatic (France Ebauche) FE 4611A. 42mm case. c1979

The legendary Monnin, the first dedicated divers watch from Heuer. The Daddy…
Back in the mid-late 70’s, Heuer received numerous requests at various trade shows for a (moderately) affordable high quality divers watch. Heuer took note, and saw an opportunity – something welcomed during the quartz crisis, when many Swiss watch companies were disappearing down the pan. Heuer too were in trouble, so they decided to dip their toe into the divers market. Not really knowing how they would sell, Heuer outsourced prototype production to G. Monnin in France, saving the expense of tooling up. They quickly realized that they were proving a hit, so production was swiftly moved to Switzerland, and the rest, as they say, is history.

There were several (844) designs, the first having different bezel markings and a cathedral hour hand, then came the ‘Submariner-esk’ bezel with cathedral hands, then finally the version you see here, with the iconic Sub style bezel insert and Mercedes hands.  Also note that the bezel does not have an inner steel surround, like the later Swiss models. (There were also some Monnin Quartz models in varying case sizes, but I’ll leave those to another day).

This example has been on quite a journey, I acquired it a long time ago from a collector in the US, as an incomplete watch. It has take considerable time to finally collect all the parts I needed to put it back to factory condition. The dial is truly stunning, the finish is a satin deep charcoal, with the most gorgeous rich cream patina to the lume, the nicest I’ve ever seen. Note the French spelling of ‘Professionel’ and ‘Made in France’ script. The deep gloss red 24hr numerals are beautifully delicate, and lift the design. It’s a shame these indices were dropped on all the later Swiss made models. There is something pleasing about red script on a monotone divers dial. (Just ask the Rolex guys). All housed in that iconic 42mm oversized case design, which graced the Heuer range for many years, and survived (in a slightly thinner form) until the early 1990s, when TAG Heuer finally dropped the design. The general case design has lived on, and can be seen in other small watch company offerings. I presume the rights to the design were sold off, or were openly available. (I’m not sure these are identical, they look similar).

Update: Movement is ‘France Ebauche’ FE 4611A – Not Felsa
Thanks to Thomas Moeller for the correction on this, I, and quite a bit of info online too, wrongly presumed this is a Felsa movement – from the FE, but Thomas has set me straight! The FE stands for French Ebauche, and was (obviously) a French made movement, whereas Felsa was a Swiss made movement – Thanks Thomas. (You can read Thomas’ comments below).

The Divers saved Heuer
This is essentially the watch that saved Heuer. That isn’t a statement made without foundation… an interview conducted by David from Cal. 11 with Jack Heuer himself saw the subject brought up… Jack saying (in reference to the Monnin and the later Swiss divers during the time of the ‘quartz crisis’)

“…would you believe it, these watches started selling like crazy. The company came out of trouble because of these watches. You know, Bo Derek wore one; we have it now in the museum” – Jack Heuer.

Military Connection
As with many watches from this period, there is some information kicking around online that can be taken out of context. One such common belief is that this model was military issue for the French Foreign Legion (FFL), and some suggestion that it was associated with DINOPS, the FFL’s combat diver unit.

There is certainly no solid evidence that this was specifically DINOPS issued, but the initial reference to the FFL came in mid 2008 from collector Jim Poseidon (SCWF) who acquired a Monnin from a retired FFL soldier, who claimed the watch was supplied as military issue by the FFL. This is the only reference I’m aware of that directly links the Monnin and military use. Maybe it was on test, or freebies from Heuer to the FFL, I don’t think anyone knows for certain. But right now, there is insufficient collective knowledge to say that it was official issue, in the sense of a wide distribution across the various FFL units.  I’m inclined to err on the side of caution with this military connection, but I have no reason to doubt any of the facts that Jim openly discussed on the Heuer forum.
On a side note, Jim spoke to Chuck Maddox, shortly before he past away, and Jim recalls that they both agreed that “this watch may be about the most collectible and historically significant Diver’s watch that Heuer ever made.

Who is/was/are Monnin?
Strangely, I can’t find a definitive answer, maybe readers can set me straight.

There are three ‘Monnins’ I’ve found whilst doing my research,  the first is ‘Gaston Monnin’, a French watchmaker from Charquemont in the French alps, near the Swiss border. Very little information is to be found, and he appears to be a sole trader, so unlikely. The second reference is the ‘Phenix Watch Co.’ founded in 1873 by Dubail, Monnin, Frossard & Co., but there is no reference to this company surviving into the 20th century. The third, and most promising reference is ‘Monnin Holding AG’ …

The house MONNIN was founded in 1946 by Gerald Monnin and MM.Valéry.
Taken from their website: “In 2001, Monnin Holding AG is acquired by three shareholders well known in the watchmaking world. (Patek Philippe, Richemont Group and Rolex)”.
They appear to be a precision lathe/tooling specialist for the Swiss watch industry, which would fit the bill. I did email them, but so far I’ve not received a response.

See the cathedral hand version in the 1979 catalogue on Heuerboy.com.

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October 17, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Heuer Diver 973.006 / 2000 Series

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Heuer Diver 2000 Series 973.006 1984-5

There are some Heuers that disappear into the twilight zone period of late Heuer/early TAG Heuer, and this is one such watch. A benefit of this period is that these late pieces are much easier to date, especially this model. It is listed in the 1984 catalogue and probably only had circa 12 months of selling time before the TAG takeover. This is why these ‘twilight dwellers’ are so difficult to find, either to buy or even research.
This makes them incredibly rare, not necessarily in the ‘worth a fortune’ way, but in scarcity.. you’d be hard pressed to find one in several years of looking. Even trying to Google this model will most probably (at time of writing) only come up with a few hits, and those are likely to be for the TAG Heuer version. Even trawling through the Heuer catalogues on OTD will yield no results (the TAG version is present), it’s not even in the rather extensive diver master table. (the 2000 series isn’t covered yet – at time or writing).

It is however listed in the index of the 1984 Heuer catalogue, and in the 1985 catalogue, but actual pictures aren’t available on OTD, good job I’ve a old catalogue kicking around – see pics below.

This particular model was the largest they made in the ‘973.xxx’ 2000 divers, signified by the Heuer code of ‘006’ being 41.5mm inc. the crown.  What is very satisfying about this model are the ‘pointing away’ triangles for the hour markers , they have a very classic vintage shape to them, and a more tool-like appearance. It had a no-nonsense military look to it with it’s factory beadblasted case & bracelet. It’s a nice size too, with 20mm lugs and slim profile at just under 9mm, it’s just crying out to sit on a NATO. But, personally, this is one model that looks great on the standard Heuer bracelet or vintage leather. In short, this is one cool and very scarce diver.

973.006 in the Heuer 1984 Catalogue

 

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October 15, 2011 at 5:24 pm